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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > EAFF East Asian Cup 2015 TOP > NEWS > SAMURAI BLUE getting ready for final match against China PR two days later in EAFF East Asian Cup


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SAMURAI BLUE getting ready for final match against China PR two days later in EAFF East Asian Cup

08 August 2015

SAMURAI BLUE getting ready for final match against China PR two days later in EAFF East Asian Cup

In the midst of their two-day interval for the last match against China PR in the EAFF East Asian Cup 2015 in Wuhan, China, SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) had a workout in the city on 7 August.

Considering the severe heat and players’ fatigue, the workout centred on maintaining conditioning by light jogs, ball controlling drills and core muscle training.

Japan coach Vahid HALILHODGIC talked to his players over 20 minutes at the beginning of the 90-minute workout on importance of raising the level of physicality even at their own clubs and the attitude expected for the first win of the tournament at the China PR match.

Midfielder MUTO Yuki (Urawa Reds), who scored his first goal of his international career in his first match with the national team against Korea Republic on 5 August, said of the coach’s speech “The time we have together at the national team is short. There are many things we don’t understand unless discussing them. I was so focused to his talk that it felt like five minutes.”

China PR, Japan’s last opponents, lost their first match on 2 August 2-0 to Korea Republic, but grabbed three points by winning the second match on 5 2-0 against Korea DPR. They are now at second place, chasing leaders Korea Republic by one point. Japan on the other hand are at fourth place with one point and the 0-1-1 record.

FIFA released the latest world ranking on 6 August, which has Japan at 56th and China PR at 79th. The past record between these two countries shows Japan have had 11 wins, 7 losses and 6 draws against China PR. For the last five matches in particular, Japan never recorded a loss but two wins and three draws including the draw at the last East Asian Cup in 2013. 

China PR, however, played very well until failing to Australia in the quarterfinal in the AFC Asian Cup in China in January this year. The squad for this tournament inherits 17 players from the AFC Asian Cup roster including SU Ke who scored three goals in the AFC tournament. 

Furthermore, with the backing of home crowd, they are expected to play with added momentum against Japan. Japan’s midfielder KURATA Shu (Gamba Osaka) says “If we can give them the impression in the first 15 minutes that Japan is putting everything we have got into this match, the pace will be ours. We won’t be passive and will keep playing forward.” 

Midfielder SHIBASAKI Gaku (Kashima Antlers) explained his enthusiasm, saying “We are in better shape than last two matches. As a team, we want to win. Me personally, I will make sure to show what I can do and hopefully my plays will bring the win to us.”

The match between Japan and China PR is scheduled to kick off at 8:10 p.m. (9:10 p.m. Japan time) on Sunday 9 August at Wuhan Sports Centre Stadium.

Players' Comments 

MF #18   MUTO Yuki (Urawa Reds)
I am well rested because I didn’t play in the Korea Republic match. If I get a chance to play, I will run aggressively even to make up for the last match I didn’t play. I will make sure to play my game. Coach has told me to score. The goal I scored last time gave me confidence. In next match, I will go hard to score again. I want to score to help my team win.

DF #5   MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Reds)
Ideally we want to keep possessing the ball and push it forward. In the second match, we could defend very patiently against such a completed team. We were also able to show crucial counter-attacks and we made good adjustments on what we couldn’t do in the first match. I think it will get even better in the China PR match and it has to be.

Even when we are tired, we get better in terms of our completeness. We keep our backline not too low and keep it compact patiently. It is important to have clear decision making on whether we hurry it up when we get the ball or we keep the pace slow. 

MF #13   KURATA Shu (Gamba Osaka)
I played a good amount in one match and that helped me get used to it. But I couldn’t show what I am capable of at all except running a little bit. I want to get into the box more and take more of better shots. When each of us can play his best without worrying about too much and show what he was called up to the team for, we can be a good team. The China PR match is one of the chances that we can do those things. So we want to make sure to finish the match with good results.

MF #7   SHIBASAKI Gaku (Kashima Antlers)
This tournament is to see what we are missing and where we are right now by playing against three countries. We are in a tough position, but I think there are a lot to learn. In terms of physicality, we are inferior. Once we can play evenly against those more physical countries, we can be better than them overall by taking advantage of our technique and our details. I think we are in better shape than last two matches, so I want to play well and at the same time make sure to put up a good result in the final match.

DF #21   ENDO Wataru (Shonan Bellmare) 
Regardless of position to play, getting on this roster and play lead to my growth. So I take (playing the right full-back position) very positively. There are many things that help me improve if I get to play in a national team match, and I can utilise that when playing other positions. I always try to charge hard on the ball, and in the China PR match, I am ready to prioritise what we are supposed to do.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

  • Interview - SHIBASAKI Gaku (Kashima Antlers)

  • Interview - TANIGUCHI Shogo (Kawasaki Frontale)


Fri. 31 July 19:00 Official Practice (Wuhan Sports Center Training Ground1)
Sat. 1 August PM Training
Sun. 2 August 1-2 vs. Korea DPR
(Wuhan Sports Center Stadium)
Mon. 3 August AM Training
Tue. 4 August PM Training
Wed. 5 August 1-1 vs. Korea Republic
(Wuhan Sports Center Stadium)
Thu. 6 August AM Training
Fri. 7 August PM Training
Sat. 8 August PM Training
Sun. 9 August 20:10 vs. China PR
(Wuhan Sports Center Stadium)

EAFF East Asian Cup 2015

Sun. 2 August - Sun. 9 August

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